Gathering Moss?

As he lives his life, Sinorice Moss encounters many Giants fans anticipating his long-awaited emergence as a game-breaking receiver. Moss does not hear frustration or anger or resentment in their voices. He says he hears faith.

"They don't ever tell me they can't wait to see what I can do,'' Moss said. "They say they can't wait until I have my big game, as if they know what I can do, they're just waiting to see it.''

That confidence is either enlightened or misplaced, as Moss in his second season with the Giants has come up with no real evidence to prove he's on the verge of a coming-out party. After an uneventful and hardly illuminating training camp, Moss started the season as the fourth receiver, as rookie Steve Smith moved ahead of him on the depth chart. When Smith in his second game went down with a fractured clavicle, the Giants had no real choice but to elevate Moss to the No. 3 receiver spot.

The results were hardly overwhelming. Moss had one catch for 17 yards against the Redskins. He had no catches against the Eagles. He had one catch for 10 yards against the Jets. And then, inside the fast track of the Georgia Dome, Moss for the first time was truly involved. He came away with a career-high four receptions but managed to gain only 19 yards on those fairly innocuous catches.

Still, for Moss, it was something.

"It felt pretty good, going out and being able to go out there and make some plays and catch some balls and get a rhythm down,'' Moss said. "We do this every day and every week in practice, it was just a matter of time for it to happen in a game. I had my opportunity to catch a couple of passes.

"Everybody would love more, everybody would. I'm not being greedy or anything, I'm just going to continue to keep working hard, doing what I have to do, so when the opportunity comes I'll be prepared.''

The fourth and final catch for Moss in the Giants' 31-10 dismantling of the Falcons was a play especially created for him, a slip-screen designed to have Moss while running parallel to the line of scrimmage haul in a quick toss from Eli Manning and then make a quick cut up-field. It's a play that is supposed to showcase the speed and elusiveness that Moss showed often enough to intrigue the Giants in the first place.

It was third-and-eight, Moss managed to get only five yards and the Giants punted the ball away.

"It happens so fast so you never know,'' Moss explained. "It could have been a matter of a second and it could have bust wide open. I think it could have bust wide open, just a matter of seconds. Just being able to get the ball in my hand, being able to maneuver and make moves and run down the field is always a plus for me, give you an opportunity to do something and help the team.''

Moss hasn't helped very much at all, as he has yet to provide the speed threat that, in theory, is supposed to open the passing lanes even wider for Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. There were plays to be made against the Falcons. Moss made the catches but not necessarily the plays.

"He made some plays and there have been some that haven't been made,'' Tom Coughlin said.

Asked if Moss has really ever shown his speed and explosiveness, Coughlin added "Well, he has shown it but he has not always been given the opportunity to do that on Sunday or Monday. But he has certainly shown it in practice. I think it is a matter of a young guy coming of age and understanding how important consistency is; to do it every time. And to use the talents that he has to flash, because he is a guy who, in the one-on-one situations, can be very explosive.''

The Giants last year traded up in the NFL Draft to make sure they landed Moss in the second round, convinced despite his striking lack of height – he's listed at 5-8 but that might be a stretch – that his bloodlines (his older brother Santana is a quality NFL receiver) and pedigree (University of Miami) ensured he'd be the speed receiver needed to compliment the towering Burress and steady Toomer.

There was no lack of excitement when Moss arrived at his first spring mini-camp and immediately showed that his legs could take him places where no Giants receiver could follow. But early in his first NFL training camp, Moss pulled a quad muscle and that injury lingered all season, effectively ruining his rookie year. He's fully healthy this season but the impact has yet to be seen.

"It's not frustrating at all because I know what I can do,'' Moss said. "It's just about getting the opportunity to do it. I practice every day and go out there and put my effort to show my coaches and my teammates what I can do. It's not frustrating because it's not being shown, I can do it. There's nothing stopping me from doing it, it's about having the opportunity in the game to do it.''

Moss liked the analogy that he might be like water flowing from a pipe, as a slow drip eventually turns into a steady stream.

"It will pour out, I really do think so,'' Moss said confidently. "I just continue to keep pressing on every week, I just believe it's just going to take one game or one play and then it's really going to pour on.''

There is certainly a support network in place for Moss. His brother is a trusted sounding board. In the receivers meeting room, Moss can lean on the experience of Toomer, a 12-year veteran who like Moss was a second-round pick who didn't exactly light the world on fire early in his career.

"I know it's tough,'' Toomer said. "You get drafted high, you expect to do a lot, injury happens, then your second year you're in your second year but you're really in your first year, so it's a tough thing to deal with. You just got to believe in yourself and believe in (your) ability, which he has a lot of; it's just a matter of time before he realizes it and everybody else realizes it.

"There's definitely something there. They don't bring people in here, draft them that high, that can't compete and play really well at this level. I think the toughest part about it is mentally staying on top of it, and being on top of your own emotions and trying to let things play themselves out.''

Moss takes these words to heart, but he knows everyone is waiting.

"I'm going to continue to work hard, continue to show these coaches what I can do in practices,'' Moss said, "and then when the opportunity comes in the game then it happens and it won't be no big surprise. It will be like hey, he's been doing it the whole time.''


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